Saturday, June 27, 2009

Odors out of control again at Bourne landfill

BOURNE - The latest outbreak of hydrogen sulfide odors at the Bourne landfill off MacArthur Boulevard will be brought under control by the Fourth of July holiday period or the board of health may take action.

The issue stretching back to 2008 seemed to be resolved this spring, but seven weeks of wet weather, northeast winds and failures in the gas-recovery system at the landfill have all contributed to the odor problem.

Acting Landfill General Manager Dan Barrett said piping in the flare system has been repaired, and he said the lingering odor issue could be solved prior to the holiday period when visitors arrive.

“The odors are completely out of control again,” Galon “Skip” Barlow, board of health member, said. “We don’t want to rein in the landfill, but this has to come under control; the problem has got to be fixed. We have to take action.

“This has an effect on the whole community,” Barlow said. “And it’s not a positive thing. We want a landfill the community can live with.”

Town Administrator Thomas Guerino said additional laborers and equipment operators as necessary would be made available to landfill operations. He said an operational audit of the operation should produce recommendations in six weeks that might help matters.

Barlow says sand should be used as daily cover of trash. He said this hikes disposal costs, but it would also end escaping odors that have plagued the facility for months.

Barrett says sand, because it is permeable, is not the best option. He says ash from the SEMASS waste-to-energy plant in Rochester might be delivered and used instead of material known as auto-shredder cover.

Barrett says the production of gas in a disposal cell has speeded up, causing problems that become quickly known when odors escape and landfill neighborhoods complain.

Barlow says Barrett should “do whatever has to be done” to eliminate the problem. “This is really going to come to a head this time,” Barlow said.

Selectman Jamie Sloniecki said sand as daily trash cover may be a reasonable idea worth discussion by his board.

Barrett agrees the problem must be resolved.

“This facility needs to move forward,” he said. “We’ve got a problem. We have to get over it. We’re taking immediate steps and longer-range steps. We’ll get this under control so we can move forward.”

The board of health on Wednesday night unanimously voted to take no action on the odor issue. If the problem is not corrected in two weeks, members agreed, other unspecified action against the landfill might be taken.

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